The Pleasanton school district is looking to undo some of the cuts it made earlier this year after better-than-expected budget numbers from Gov. Jerry Brown's May budget revision.
The district hopes to restore much of what parents asked for at the last school board meeting, although administrators at that time said money wasn't available.
An announcement on the Pleasanton Unified School District's (PUSD) website states: "there is still a lot of uncertainty and speculation about the state budget for next year and subsequent years. However, the funding numbers that came out with the May Revise have given us some assurances that we can continue to plan in a fiscally conservative manner while recommending the restoration of some reductions that were approved by the Board on February 22."
Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi said district officials have recently heard some positive news about the budget that changed their stance on some cuts.
"We have been to several budget meetings, each one of us, and we are hearing the sames things," Ahmadi said. "The exposure that we have is less than what we thought, which gives us the opportunity to look at putting some things back -- not everything, it's just a few things we are confident about putting back. That has been confirmed by meetings each one of us has attended and we thought it would be important to bring that back to the board to discuss."
One key issue is AB3632, which switched the responsibility of providing mental health services for students to individual school districts. Originally, PUSD officials thought the district would have to pay for those services out of pocket. They now have learned those costs will still be covered by the state.
With its new money, the administration recommends maintaining the 25 to 1 student-teacher ratio in grades K-3, at a cost of $1.3 million.
It also recommends restoring a one-half FTE (Full Time Equivalent) reading specialist at each of its elementary schools, and one-half FTE for the Barton reading program. That will cost the district an estimated $400,000.
Another $400,000 would go to bringing back elementary school physical education and restoring some counseling at an estimated cost of $200,000. The total cost of bringing back the jobs and programs would be $2.3 million.
The recommendations mark a 180-degree turnaround from the last meeting, when parents asked for those specific programs to be restored. In fact, a grassroots effort was begun in anticipation of K-3 class sizes going from 25 to 1 to 30 to 1.
At that last meeting, Luz Cazares, assistant superintendent of business services, said all the money restored in Gov. Brown's budget would come from eliminating deferrals. That would save the district money since it wouldn't have to do short-term borrowing because of the state's delay in paying the district, but it wouldn't restore programs or jobs.